Meet Britain’s new version of “The Odd Couple,” a detective duo who can’t agree on anything – except solving crimes.
Hourlong episodes of the BBC series “Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators” air Thursdays at 8 p.m., beginning Feb. 7, following Plate & Pour and Tastemakers. A second season is currently being produced. The comedy-drama is executive produced by Will Trotter (“Father Brown”) with Ella Kelly (“Midsomer Murders”) serving as the series producer.
Private inspector Frank Hathaway (played by Mark Benton) has always worked alone. But Frank isn’t doing so well: he’s out of shape and low on cash. Frank needs a partner: ex-hairdresser and “people-person” Lu Shakespeare (Jo Joyner). The two eventually join forces and form a highly unlikely, hugely entertaining and fairly successful detecting duo.
Frank and Lu quickly discover that all is not as peaceful as it seems in their pretty theater town of Stratford-upon-Avon. The show portrays a town of picturesque charm with a hotbed of mystery and intrigue: extramarital affairs, celebrity stalkers, missing police informants, care home saboteurs, rural rednecks and murderous magicians, to name a few.
This odd couple of detectives form the unlikeliest of partnerships as they investigate the secrets of rural Warwickshire’s residents. But they help put the world to rights as they snoop and pry, even though they disagree on almost everything.
Lu suspects her charming fiance, Clive, might be unfaithful, but is unconvinced when Frank seemingly catches Clive giving his devoted secretary, Janice, a diamond necklace. Lu unceremoniously fires Frank who crashes the wedding in a last minute bid to change her mind. Lu’s not having any of it, but when Clive is discovered murdered in the bridal suite all evidence points to her and her dream honeymoon is replaced with a police cell. With nowhere else to turn Lu is forced to enlist Frank to uncover the real killer and clear her name.
When ominous noises on the roof startle Dora Bentley in the middle of the night, she panics and calls out for help. Brusque owner Penelope Pincott enlist the services of Frank and Lu to find who is trying to sabotage their care home. An undercover care assistant is embedded, where he encounters mischievous ex-soldier Johnny Falstaff, who delights in the ensuing chaos. The investigation is flipped on its head when Penelope fatally plunges from the secluded flat roof. The only problem is everyone at the home has a cast-iron alibi for the time of death.
Undertaker Peter Quintus leads a quiet and unassuming life with his loving wife, Anne. So when he’s visited one morning by two mysterious hitmen who inform him he has just 24 hours to live because of an undisclosed misdemeanor, he goes into a tailspin. Peter flees straight to the detective agency and offers Frank and Lu an eye-popping fee to save his life. On a stakeout, Lu spots an overzealous neighborhood warden, Melvin, snooping on the Quintus’ house. Then they catch Peter’s ex-wife, Brenda, berating Anne over money she claims she’s owed. When the hitmen return to wound Anne, it’s clear they mean business but will Frank and Lu uncover who’s behind the plot?
Old school magician, Lawrence Pross, is in the midst of his grand finale when tragedy strikes and his volunteer is fatally trapped in his medieval iron maiden. Accused of involuntary manslaughter, Lawrence is reduced to performing cheap tricks to passing tourists. His daughter Maggie doesn’t believe the trick was faulty and convinces Lawrence to enlist Frank and Lu, to investigate sabotage by Lawrence’s nemesis, Anton. As Frank and Lu delve into a world of illusion and sleight of hand they meet surly stagehands and thorny travel agents, each with their own version of what happened on that fateful night.